Geetanjali Singh was not Goolsarran’s personal assistant

Dear Editor,

Anand Goolsarran and the AFC are calling for the removal of Geetanjali Singh from the Audit Office of Guyana. I wrote a letter that said that if this call is heeded it would be dangerous for women in Guyana as any woman whose husband held a high or lead position in a public agency would be prevented from working in the Audit Office. In other words, a woman would have to give up on her dreams, abandon her qualifications and stifle her ability only because of who she married. I said this would be backward and a retrogressive step in the women’s rights movement (‘The Geetanjali Singh issue is about women…’ SN, October 14).

Mr Goolsarran wrote a letter in response (KN, October 14) and said a number of different things but he completely failed to address the issue I raised regarding the right of women to choose a career path. He did say this, however, “As regards Ms Geetanjali Singh, readers may know by now that I recruited her in the early 1990s. She served as my Personal Assistant until the date of her marriage to Ashni Singh.”

Geetanjali Singh was appointed as an Audit Clerk on November 9th 1992 by PSC Government Order No C-7/5/6 and promoted to Senior Audit Clerk with effect from 1 June 1994 by PSC government Order No: C-7/5/5. On November 1st 1995 she was appointed to act as Assistant Auditor by PSC Government Order No: 7/5/12. She married Ashni Singh in 1996. She is now a Chartered Accountant and Audit Director in the Audit Office. Clearly this woman had to be qualified and good at what she did if she kept being promoted.

During the time that Mr Goolsarran claims she was his Personal Assistant, Geetanjali Singh professionally, in accordance with her appointment, audited various entities including the Ministry of Agriculture, Customs and Excise, Minis-try of Public Works, Office of the Prime Minister, Accountant General Depart-ment, Public Police Service Commission/ Teaching Service Commis-sion, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, BIDCO, Guyana Libya Arab Agriculture Develop-ment Com-pany, Guyana Marketing Corporation, Guyana National Coopera-tive Bank, Sanata Textiles Limited, Dependant’s Pension Fund, Guyana Forestry Commis-sion and several IDB/UNDP projects.

Mrs Geetanjali Singh was simply never the personal assistant of Anand Goolsarran and sadly, Mr Goolsarran makes my argument for me.

It matters not how qualified a woman is, what she has achieved, what qualifications she has, how good she is at her job, clearly to him and those on whose behalf he speaks, all she, and other women in the Audit Office, are good for are to be personal assistants to a male head.

This is the glass ceiling that we must collectively shatter. Mr Goolsarran, in my view is a lost cause and will never see women as capable, let alone equals. What he feels, however, is of little consequence to me.

My concern is if we, the Guyanese
people, the women’s rights groups, civil society and the political parties remain silent on this matter and this man and those like him have their way in removing Geentajali Singh, then we will be dealing a severe blow to the rights of women and girls in this country. It is necessary that we all stand up against this bigotry now or suffer the dire consequences later.

Yours faithfully,
Priya Manickchand

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